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Design thinking – A way to connect the dots

It was 8:30 a.m on a cold autumn morning, the first day of an exciting journey into service design that was to start at Laurea. After navigating the ridiculously long coffee queue, it was already time for the course to commence.

We all got to know each other and the course got underway.  We were confronted with a refreshingly practical approach by Gijs Van Wulfen and Prof. Katja Tschimmel. Some of the interesting practical and visual tools included ” innovation by mixing and matching (taking two completely different objects and seeing the connection)”,  “mind mapping”, “in-depth interviews”, “developing personas”,  and preparing a “business model canvas”.


All this got us started and thinking using visual tools, which is a key trait of “Design thinking”. Innovation is a complex process, and design thinking  facilitates this. The FORTH innovation method that was developed by Gijs was what we used in pursuit of “Design thinking glory”.   Mind mapping was what got us all started the whole process. Katja showed us tremendous possibilities that can stem out from an idea. A useful tip that she suggested was to pin the mind map on the wall instead of using it on top of a table.


In that way everyone sees it the same way, and keeping a distance from the picture helps to get an abstract view (sometimes you need to go far to see the big picture !!!). Katja also introduced visual tools like photographs, interviews and other visual registers that could be used as an impulse for idea generation. Personas and empathy maps(as explained in Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation) were introduced to us, a tool designers use to understand and interpret the perspectives of end users and the problems they face.

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